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Publication numberUS3501052 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 17, 1970
Filing dateFeb 13, 1968
Priority dateFeb 20, 1967
Publication numberUS 3501052 A, US 3501052A, US-A-3501052, US3501052 A, US3501052A
InventorsRudszinat Willy
Original AssigneeHauni Werke Koerber & Co Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Magazine for cigarettes or the like
US 3501052 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 17, 1970 w. RUDSZINAT 3,501,052

MAGAZINE FOR CIGARETTES OR THE LIKE Filed Feb. 13, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 //V V15 N 7" 0R Myy Riv/same? March 17, 1970 w. RUDSZINAT 3,501,052

MAGAZINE FOR CIGARETTES OR THE LIKE Filed Feb. 13. 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 March 17, 1970 w. RUDSZINAT 3,501,052

MAGAZINE FOR CIGARETTES OR THE LIKE Filed Feb. 13, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 I 1023 102 [I3 $16 ,2 m2, '1 I00 United States Patent US. Cl. 221-175 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A magazine for cigarettes or like rod-shaped articles comprises a hopper which accommodates a variable supply of stacked articles and several reciprocable or swingable agitating members receiving motion from a motor by way of one or more yieldable components, such as springs, friction couplings or the like, so that they agitate the articles in order to level the stack in the hop-per with a force which is opposed by resistance offered by articles to such agitation.

One of the agitating members or the drive for the agitating members cooperates with a signal generating device which can produce visible or otherwise detectable signals to indicate the extent or frequency of movement of agitating members or to regulate the admission of fresh articles at a rate which is a function of the extent or frequency of movement of agitating members. The agitating members may move in the same sense or in different directions and may but need not be directly connected with the yieldable component or components.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to magazines for cigarettes, filter rod sections, cigarillos, cigars or like rodshaped articles. More particularly, the invention relates to improvements in devices which are utilized in hoppers of magazines for cigarettes or like articles to level the stack of articles therein.

Patent No. 2,924,356 discloses a cigarette magazine wherein the hopper accommodates several rockable agitating members which can be swung back and forth by means of a handle. The handle is manipulated from time to time, particularly when the hopper receives a fresh supply of cigarettes. A drawback of such agitating members is that they are likely to damage or deform the cigarettes.

Another known magazine which is disclosed in British Patent No. 1,035,491 comprises a rake-like levelling device which is driven by a motor. The connection between the motor and the levelling device is rigid so that the prongs of the levelling device are likely to damage or destroy the cigarettes when the motor is in operation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of my invention to provide a magazine for discrete commodities, particularly for cigarettes or analogous rod-like articles which are stacked in a hopper or a like container, with a levelling device which can automatically level the stack in the hopper without causing any damage to the wrappers or other parts of articles therein.

Another object of the invention is to provide a levelling device which can be installed in hoppers of presently known magazines for cigarettes or like articles and which, in addition to levelling the stack of articles in the hopper, can also perform one or more additional important and advantageous functions, for example, by indicating the height of the stack, by indicating that the supply of articles in the hopper must be replenished, and/or by initiating 3,501,052 Patented Mar. 17, 1970 admission of fresh articles when the height of the stack in the hopper descends to a predetermined level.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a levelling device which can utilize identical, similar or widely different agitating members, wherein the agitating members can treat the articles gently, and wherein the agitating members can receive motion from a relatively simple, compact and inexpensive drive.

A further object of the invention is to provide a magazine wherein the levelling device can be operated by hand or by means of a motor.

The improved magazine comprises a hopper or a like container arranged to accommodate a variable quantity of preferably rod-like articles which form therein a stack of parallel articles filling the container to an extent determined by the quantity of articles therein, and levelling means comprising at least one agitating member normally received or buried in the stack and movable with reference to the container to promote levelling of the stack by subjecting the articles to an agitating action whose intensity diminishes with increasing resistance offered by articles to movement of the agitating member. When the articles offer a predetermined resistance, the agitating member comes to a halt to avoid damage to the articles, for example, when the stack is so high that the weight of articles above the agitating member exerts a force warranting a termination of agitating action to prevent ex cessive squeezing or breakage of wrappers on cigarettes.

In accordance with a more specific feature of my invention, the levelling means further comprises drive means for moving the agitating member and such drive means comprises yieldable means including one or more springs, friction couplings or the like arranged to transmit motion to the agitating member with a force which is opposed by the resistance of articles in the stack. The drive means may comprise an electric motor, another suitable prime mover or a manually operable member, for example, a crank, a wheel or the like.

The novel features which are considered as characteristics of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved magazine itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a magazine which embodies one form of my invention and wherein the levelling means comprises several two-armed agitating members;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary rear elevational view of the magazine;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of the drive in a second magazine wherein the yieldable means comprises a single leaf spring or a single package of leaf springs;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of the drive in a third magazine wherein the yieldable means comprises two helical springs forming part of an endless chain or belt which transmits motion to one or more oscillatable agitating members;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of the drive in a fourth magazine wherein the yieldable means comprises a friction coupling;

FIG. 6 is an end elevational view of the friction coupling as seen in the direction of the arrow VI in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of a fifth magazine wherein the agitating members resemble onearmed levers and extend upwardly;

FIG. 8 is a similar fragmentary perspective view of a ixth magazine wherein the agitating members resemble ne-armed levers which extend downwardly;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a seventh magazine 'herein the drive comprises a plurality of yieldable elements each of which is directly connected with one of re agitating members;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged perspective view of an agitatig member in the magazine of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary rear elevational Iew of the magazine shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary rear elevational view of an ghth magazine wherein the drive operates a signal gen- 'ating device and wherein such drive moves the agitatig members in different directions;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an agitating member hich is of polygonal outline;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a heart-shaped agitting member;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an agitating member f elliptical outline;

FIG. 16 is a rear elevational view of a further magane wherein the agitating members are rigidly connected I a common carrier; and

FIG. 17 is an enlarged transverse sectional view as en in the direction of arrows from the line XVII-XVII EFIG. 16.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The magazine of FIGS. 1 and 2 comprises a container hopper 1 which accommodates a stack or float ng ore of parallel cigarettes 2 and comprises a rear wall 3, v side Walls 4, and a preferably transparent front all 6. If desired, all of the walls may consist of transirent or translucent material. The lower end portion of le hopper 1 is provided with several vertical ducts 7 hich discharge rows of cigarettes into a packing maline or the like, not shown. The upper end of each 1011 7 is adjacent to an eccentrically mounted rotary or scillatable roller 8 which promotes the entry of cigattes 2 into the respective duct. The top portions of said alls 4, 5 support the elements of a monitoring device tcluding a vertically adjustable light source 9 mounted 1 the side wall 4 and a vertically adjustable photoelecic receiver 11 mounted on the side wall 5. These eletents are movable up or down to the extent determined 7 the length of slots 12, 13 respectively provided in the de walls 4 and 5. The light beam issuing from the urce 9 passes through the slot 12, across the top poron of the interior of the hopper 1, through the slot 13, 1d impinges against the light-sensitive surface of the :ceiver 11. Conductors 14, connect the light source in circuit with a suitable source of electrical energy, )t shown. Conductors 1'6, 17 connect the receiver 11 ith a signal generator, for example, with a lamp which ghts up when the level of stacked cigarettes 2 in the pper 1 descends below the light beam, or with the arter mechanism of a device or machine which feeds esh articles to the hopper. Such feeding device or maline can be started, with or without delay, whenever the vel of articles in the hopper 1 descends below the light The levelling device of my magazine comprises seval, for example four, identical or similar agitating embers 18 each of which resembles a two-armed lever wing two mirror symmetrical vanes or arms 18a. The gitating members 18 are normally buried in or at least tend into the stack of cigarettes 2 and are oscillatable ack and forth about the axes of horizontal shafts 21 hich are mounted in the rear wall 3 and/ or in the front all 6 and extend into or across the space in the interior F the hopper. The agitating members 18 are elongated 1d are parallel with the articles 2. It will be noted that .e agitating members 18 are mounted at a level slightly below the path for the light beam issuing from the light source 9.

The levelling device further includes a drive which can move the agitating members 18 back and forth and comprises a single prime mover (e.g., an electric motor 24 afiixed to the side wall 4) and a power train connecting the prime mover with the agitating members 18. The motor 24 drives a variable-speed transmission 23 which is mounted at the outer side of the wall 4 and whose output shaft 25 carries a sprocket wheel or pulley 26 for an endless chain or belt 27 trained around a sprocket wheel or pulley 29 mounted on a shaft 28 which is journalled in the rear Wall 3 of the hopper 1. The shaft '28 is rigid with a radial crank arm 31 which carries a pivot pin 34 affixed to one end of a connecting rod 32. The other end of the rod 32 is connected with a pivot pin 35 at the outer end of an arm or link 33 which is rotatable on a shaft 36 affixed to the rear wall 3. A sprocket wheel or pulley 37 is freely rotatable on the shaft 37 and can drive a series of four sprocket wheels or pulleys 22 each of which is mounted on one of the shafts 21 for the agitating members 18. An endless chain or belt 41 is trained around the members 22 and 37 in a manner as shown in FIG. 2, i.e., so that it can rotate all of the agitating members 18 in the same sense, either in a clockwise direction or in a counterclockwise direction. Spring-biased tensioning rolls 39 are mounted on shafts 38 to tension the chain or belt 41 so as to insure that the members 22 rotate in response to rotation of the member 37.

The yieldable means of the just described drive comprises two prestressed helical springs 42, 43 which tend to expand and operate between the rotary member 37 and link 33. The end convolutions of springs 42, 43 are respectively mounted in spring retainers 44, 45 and 46, 47. The retainers 44, 47 are pivotally connected to the rotary member 37 by pins or rivets 48, 50 and the retainers 45, 46 are pivotally connected to an intermediate portion of the link 33 by a common pin or rivet 49.

The characteristics of the springs 42, 43 are such that they can transmit to the agitating members 18 a force which is too weak to cause deformation or destruction of cigarettes 2. The transmission ratio of the power train between the motor 24 and agitating members 18 is such that the amplitude of agitating members is best suited to achieve an optimum levelling action when the hopper 1 contains a floating store or stack of average height. The maximum amplitude of agitating members 18 depends on the shape of vanes 18a and on the nature of articles which are stored in the hopper 1. For example, the hopper 1 may contain a stack of filter rod sections which are stronger than cigarettes 2 and the agitating members are then arranged to perform oscillatory movements of greater amplitude. The force which the motor 24 can transmitto the agitating members 18 can be changed by replacing the springs 42, 43 with springs of different characteristics. Moreover, the amplitude of agitating members 18 can be changed by mounting the sprocket wheels or pulleys 22 with some freedom of angular movement with reference to their shafts 21.

The operation of the levelling device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is as follows:

The motor 24 is started simultaneously with the machines which receive cigarettes 2 from the ducts 7 and which feed cigarettes on top of the stack in the hopper 1. As a rule, the operation of the consuming machine or machines which receive cigarettes from the ducts 7 is synchronized with the operation of the machine or machines which feed cigarettes into the hopper 1 in such a way that the average height of the stack of cigarettes in the hopper normally varies very little if at all. When the motor 24 is started, the connecting rod 32 reciprocates as indicated by arrows 51, 52 and causes the agitating members 18 to swing back and forth as indicated by arrows 53, 54. As stated before, the agitating members 18 move in the same sense, i.e., they are swung simultaneously first in the direction of arrow 53 and thereupon in the direction of arrow 54, or vice versa. The cigarettes which are caused to descend onto the stack-in the hopper 1 tend to pile up to form a single pile or to impart to the top face of the stack an undulate shape. The function of agitating members 18 is to level the stack by subjecting the cigarettes around them to an agitating action which suffices to form a substantially horizontal top layer of cigarettes. Unevennesses in the top face of the stack can also be caused by irregular withdrawal of cigarettes by way of the ducts 7. The agitating action of members 18 is preferably such that the top layer of the stack in the hopper 1 is located in a substantially horizontal plane when the height of this stack rises sufficiently to approach the light beam issuing from the source 9. The amplitude of agitating members 18 decreases with increasing height of the stack because the cigarettes offer greater resistance to movement of agitating members if these members are completely or nearly completely buried in the stack. The resistance of cigarettes can reach such proportions that the agitating members 18 are brought to a complete stop. Such stoppage can be detected and can initiate stoppage of the maker or makers which supply cigarettes to the hopper 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a modified drive which can replace the drive shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The sprocket wheel or pulley 29 is driven in the same way as shown in FIG. 2 and reciprocates a connecting rod 32 whose left-hand end is connected to a spring retainer 153 by means of a pin 35. The yieldable means 133 of this drive comprises a leaf spring or a package of leaf springs 142, the afore mentioned retainer 153 which is afiixed to one end of the spring 142 by a screw, rivet or analogous fastener 160, and a second spring retainer 143 which is connected to the other end of the spring 142 by a fastener 150. The spring 142 replaces the link 33 and springs 42, 43 of FIG. 2. The retainer 143 is non-rotatably secured to a shaft 140 by a key 170. The shaft 140 is rigid with the sprocket wheel or pulley 37 which drives the rotary members 22 by way of a chain or belt 41 in the same way as described in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2. The retainers 143, 153 are slotted and their slots accommodate the respective ends of the leaf spring 142.

FIG. 4 illustrates a further drive which is similar to the drives of FIGS. L2 and 3. The link 33 is non-rotatably secured to the shaft 240 of the sprocket wheel or pulley 37 by a key 270. The chain or belt 41 is replaced with an endless flexible element 241 which is trained around the rotary members 37, 39, 22 and comprises two yieldable elements in the form of helical springs 242, 243 which yield when the articles in the hopper offer excessive resistance to oscillatory movement of the agitating members. The spring 242 then expands when the member 37 turns in a clockwise direction and the spring 243 expands when the member 37 turns in a counterclockwise direction.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is shown a drive which comprises an endless chain or belt 27 (hereinafter called chain) for a sprocket wheel 29. The chain 27 is driven in the same way as shown in FIG. 2. The yieldable means of this drive comprises a friction coupling 360 which is interposed between the sprocket wheel 29 and crank arm 31. The latter reciprocates the connecting rod 32 and the connecting rod oscillates a sprocket wheel 37 by way of a link 33 which is keyed to the shaft 340 for the wheel 37. The chain 41 drives the agitating members in the same way as described in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2. The friction coupling 360 comprises two disks 361, 362 the former of which is fixed to the shaft 329 of the sprocket wheel 29. The disk 3621s fixed to a shaft 362 which is rigid with the crank arm 31. The shafts 329, 328 are mounted in bearings provided on the rear wall of the hopper, and the disk 362 is biased against the disk 361 (or vice versa) with such a force that the agitating members can oscillate when they encounter a certain resistance offered by cigarettes 2 in the hopper. The frequency of oscillations decreases in response to increasing resistance and the agitating members can be brought to a complete standstill if the resistance reaches a predetermined maximum value. The magnitude of torque which the coupling 360 can transmit is selected in such a way that the agitating members cannot deform, damage or destroy the cigarettes in the hopper. When the resistance offered by cigarettes in the hopper exceeds a predetermined minimum value, the disk 361 begins to turn with reference to the disk 362 and allows the sprocket wheel 29 to rotate with reference to the crank arm 31. The agitating members begin to oscillate when the supply of cigarettes in the hopper is depleted to such an extent that friction between the disks 361, 362 of the coupling 360 suffices again to rotate the crank arm 31. It will be noted that, while the drives of FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 permit for changes in amplitude of the agitating members, the drive of FIGS. 5-6 allows for changes in frequency of the agitating members.

The friction coupling 360 of FIGS. 5 and 6 can be replaced by other types of couplings without departing from the spirit of my invention. For example, the magazine of FIGS. 5 and 6 can employ a magnetic coupling, a fluid coupling, a spring friction coupling or the like.

FIG. 7 illustrates a portion of a magazine wherein the hopper accommodates a row of four agitating members 418 each of which resembles a one-armed lever having a single arm or vane 418a which extends vertically upwardly in neutral position of the respective agitating member.

In FIG. 8, the arms 518a extend downwardly when the respective agitating members 518 dwell in their neutral positions. The agitating members 418, 518 can be oscillated in a manner as described in connection with any one of the preceding figures.

In the magazine which is shown in FIGS. 9 to 11, the

yieldable means comprises yieldable elements 682 each of which is associated with one of and is directly connected to the respective agitating member 680. The magazine is otherwise similar to that of FIGS. 12 and its parts are denoted by similar reference numerals. For example, the hopper 601 comprises walls 603, 604, 605, 606 and the drive comprises an electric motor 624 which drives a transmission 623. The link 633 is oscillated by the connecting rod 632 but is keyed to the shaft 640 of the sprocket wheel 637, i.e., the sprocket wheels 622 oscillate back and forth as long as the motor 624 is on. The yieldable elements 682 are leaf springs whose upper end portions extend into slots machined into the respective shafts 621 and are atfixed to such shafts by rivets, screws or analogous fasteners 684. The lower end portions of springs 682 extend into slots provided in the respective agitating members 680 and are affixed thereto by fasteners 683. The agitating members 680 have an airfoil pro file and the characteristics of springs 682 are such that they yield when the respective agitating members encounter excessive opposition to oscillatory movement in the interior of the hopper 601. An advantage of the drive shown in FIGS. 9 and 11 is that the resistance encountered by one or more agitating members 680 does not influence oscillatory movements of the remaining agitating member or members. Thus, those agitating members 680 which do not meet an excessive resistance can continue to oscillateto bring about a desirable levelling action even though the remaining agitating member or members 680 come to a complete halt or oscillate at less than maximum amplitude. It can be said that the drive of FIGS. 9 and 11 comprises a separate power train 622, 621, 682 for each of the agitating members 680 and that each such power train comprises a yieldable element 682 which is (but need not be) directly connected with the corresponding agitating member. For example, the springs 680 could be replaced by friction couplings (similar to the coupling 360 of FIG. 6) interposed between the sprocket wheels 622 and the associated shafts 621. In such a magazine, the agitating members 680 (or analogous agitating memvers) can be rigidly connected with the respective hafts 621.

FIG. 12 illustrates a portion of a magazine which is ientical with or similar to the magazine of FIGS. 1-2 nd whose parts are denoted by similar reference numerals. This magazine further comprises a signal generatmg device which can be utilized to indicate the extent or requency of movement of agitating members which are onnected with the shafts 21, to regulate the admission of resh cigarettes into the hopper 1, and/or to perform nother important function. Also, the signal generating levice can be used to indicate the extent of frequency of movement of agitating members and to simultaneously egulate the admission of fresh cigarettes. One of the shafts 1 is rigid with a radially extending trip or actuating memer 785 which can close a normally open microswitch 786 vhen the corresponding agitating member oscillates at a maximum amplitude or at an amplitude which exceeds a redetermined minimum amplitude. The switch 786 is onnected in circuit with a signal generating lamp 788 by conductor 787. A second conductor 789 connects the witch 786 with the positive pole of an energy source and s electrically connected with the conductor 787 when the rip 785 closes the switch 786. A third conductor 790 conrects the lamp 788 with the ground. Thus, when the switch '86 is closed, the lamp 788 produces a visible signal to mdicate to the person in charge that the agitating mem ers are free to oscillate at a predetermined frequency. If he frequency of oscillations decreases, the lamp 788 eases to furnish signals and the operator knows that the tack of cigarettes in the hopper 1 is too high, i.e., the tperator is informed that the feed of cigarettes into the topper should be reduced or terminated and/or that the ate at which the consuming machine withdraws cigarettes rom the ducts at the lower end of the hopper 1 should be mcreased. It is clear that the lamp 788 can be replaced by buzzer or the like and/ or that the trip 785 can be aranged to open the switch 786 only when the agitating members oscillate at a maximum amplitude so that the amp 788 produces a visible signal as long as the level of igarettes in the hopper 1 is below a predetermined level.

FIG. 12 further shows that the chain 41 is trained .lternately about the lower and upper portions of sucesive sprocket wheels turn in opposite directions. This is mdicated by solid-line and broken-line arrows. Thus, by he simple expedient of selecting the manner in which he chain 41 is trained around the sprocket wheels 22, the iperator can determine whether or not all of the agitating members oscillate in the same sense. The chain 41 can re mounted in such a way that only one of the sprocket vheels 22 turns in a clockwise direction when the other procket wheels 22 turn in a counterclockwise direction, 11' vice versa.

If the signal generating device of FIG. 12 is utilized indicate the height of the stack in the hopper 1, the monitoring device 9, 11 of FIGS. 1 and 2 can be dispensed vith. The trip 785 is preferably adjustable on the correponding shaft 21 so that the operator can select the exact tmplitude at which the switch 786 closes or opens. If the rip 785 is arranged to close the switch 786, i.e., if the witch 786 is normally open, the person observing the amp 788 knows that the feed of fresh cigarettes is too low when the lamp produces a sequence of successive ignals because the agitating members are then free to :scillate at a maximum frequency, i.e., the cigarettes in he hopper 1 offer very little resistance to such oscillation. Fhe absence of visible signals indicates that the height of he stack in the hopper 1 is satisfactory. Of course, the :lectric circuit of FIG. 12 can include a suitable starter shown at ST) which can be placed in series with the amp 788 to control the machine or conveyor which feeds :igarettes to the hopper 1. Such starter can initiate or tccelerate the feed of fresh cigarettes when the circuit of he lamp 788 is completed. It is futrher clear that the trip but can be aflixed to one of the agitating members. If the trip 785 is affixed to the drive, it should be attached to a component downstream of the yieldable means, i.e., to a component which shares the movements of agitating members and moves at a reduced speed or at a lesser frequency if the agitating members encounter a greater resistance to movement in the hopper.

The signal generating device can be utilized with equal advantage in the magazines which are shown in FIGS. 3- 11. Of course, when used in the magazine of FIG. 9, the trip 785 is connected directly with one of the agitating members 680. When used in the magazine of FIGS. 5 and 6, the signal generating device will produce signals at a frequency which is indicative of the height of the stack in the hopper. Moreover, the electric motor of the drive can be replaced by other types of motors, for example, by rotary hydraulic or pneumatic motors or by reciprocatory hydraulic or pneumatic cylinder and piston units. Still further, the drive can receive motion from the motor or motors of the machine or machines which supply cigarettes to or receive cigarettes fromthe hopper.

FIGS. 13 to 15 illustrate various types of agitating members which can replace the agitating members 680 in the magazine of FIGS. 9 to 11. The agitating member 780 of FIG. 13 is of polygonal outline and is connected to the adjoining shaft 721 by a leaf spring 782 and fasteners 783, 784. The agitating member 880 of FIG. 14 is heartshaped and is affixed to the shaft 821 by a leaf spring 882 fasteners 883, 884. The agitating member 980 of FIG. 15 is of oval or elliptical outline and is affixed to the shaft 921 by a leaf spring 982 and fasteners 983, 984.

FIGS. 16 and 17 illustrate a further magazine wherein the agitating members 1014 resemble rods which are rigidly connected to each other by a horizontal carrier 1013. This magazine comprises a container or hopper 1001 for floating store or stack of parallel cigarettes 1002. The hopper 1001 comprises a rear wall 1003, two side walls 1004, 1005, a front wall 1006 and evacuating ducts 1007. The rear wall 1003 carries two brackets 1008 for a fixedly mounted but detachable I-shaped rail 1009. The rail 1009 supports two reciprocable carriages or dollies 1011, 1012 which are afiixed to the aforementioned carrier 1013. In the embodiment of FIGS. 16 and 17, the carrier 1013 is provided with five equidistant coplanar agitating members 1014 .which extend through elongated horizontal slots 1015 machined into the rear wall 1003. Each agitating member 1014 extends close tothe inner side of the front wall 1006. Each of the dollies 1011, 1012 has two rollers 1016 which travel along the flanges of the rail 1009. The parts 1011-1014 form a rigid unit which is reciprocable along the rail 1009 to the extent determined by the length of slots 1015. g

The drive which reciprocates the parts 1011-1014 comprises an electric gear motor 1018 mounted on a bracket 1017 which is aflixed to the rear wall 1003. The output shaft of the motor 1018 is rigid with a pulley 1019 which drives a second pulley 1022 by way of an endless V-belt 1021. The pulley 1022 is rigid with a shaft 1023 which carries a radially adjustable arm 1024 having a sleeve-like outer end portion 1025. The shaft 1023 is rotatable in a bearing 1026 which is mounted on the rear wall 1003 by a bracket 1027. The yieldable means of the drive'comprises two helical springs 1028, 1029 each of which has one of its ends anchored in the head 1031 of a bolt 1032 mounted in the end portion 1025. The other ends of the springs 1028, 1029 are respectively connected with retainers 1033, 1034 provided on the dollies 1011, 1012.

The characteristics of the springs 1028, 1029 are selected in such a way that the agitating members 1014 can cease to reciprocate when they encounter a predetermined resistance to movement in the interior of the hopper 1001. The springs 1028, 1029 enable the articles 785 need not be connected to a component of the drive 1014 or to limit the extent of reciprocatory movement of such members.

When the machine or machines which deliver cigarettes to or receive cigarettes from the hopper 1001 are started, the operator starts the motor 1018 (or such motor is started in a fully automatic way) whereby the drive causes the unit 1011-1014 to move back and forth with reference to the rail 1009 to the extent determined by the length of slots 1015 and by the resistance of articles 1002 in the hopper 1001. The head 1031 orbits about the shaft 1023 and reciprocates the dollies 1011, 1012 by way of springs 1028, 1029. The articles 1002 can arrest the agitating members 1014 while the motor 1018 continues to drive the shaft 1023. This takes place when the articles offer a resistance which exceeds the bias of springs 1028, 1029. The agitating members 1014 begin to reciprocate automatically as soon as the resistance offered by articles 1002 drops below a predetermined value. Also, the articles can offer a resistance which allows some reciprocatory movements of the members 1014 but ,not to the full extent permitted by slots 1015.

The improved levelling device insures automatic levelling of the stack of articles in the hopper but without causing any damage, deformation and/or destruction of articles. In this way, the levelling device assists the monitoring device by enabling the latter to furnish correct indications as to the height of the stack in the hopper.

Certain more important advantages of my magazine can be summarized as follows:

The levelling device may comprise one or more agitating members and a drive which oscillates, reciprocates or otherwise moves the agitating members in the hopper to the extent and/or at a frequency determined by opposition offered by articles which are being agitated by such members. This is achieved by providing the drive with one or more yieldable elements or parts which permit the prime mover to continue its operation while the agitating members remain at a standstill or move at less than maximum speed and/or amplitude. The yieldable element or elements may be directly connected to the agitating members or such element or elements may be installed in the power train or power trains which tend to move the agitating members when the prime mover is in operation. Each agitating member can be provided with one or more arms or vanes, or such members may resemble rods, wings or other types of bodies. The agitating members may but need not be equidistant from each other, and they may but need not move in the same sense, at the same frequency or to the same extent. The agitating members and/or their drive can operate a signal generating device which can replace the monitoring means and/or which can also regulate the feed of articles into the hopper.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of my contribution to the art.

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:

1. A magazine for discrete commodities, particularly for stacked cigarettes or like deformable rod-shaped articles, comprising a container arranged to accommodate a variable quantity of articles which form therein a stack filling the container to an extent determined by the quantity of articles therein; and levelling means comprising at least one agitating member normally received in the stack in said container and movable therein to promote levelling of the stack by subjecting the articles to an agitating action, and drive means for moving said agitating member including yieldable means arranged to transmit to said agitating member motion which decreases in response to increasing resistance offered by articles to movement of said agitating member with attendant decrease in said agitating action to thereby prevent deformationtof articles in the stack.

2. A magazine as defined in claim 1, further comprising means for regulating the admission of articles into said container at a rate which is a function of the extent or frequency of movement of said agitating memher.

3. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein the articles are rod-shaped and the stack in said container comprises parallel articles, said agi-tating member being elongated and being substantially parallel with the articles in said container.

4. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said levelling means comprises a plurality of agitating members and said drive means comprises a plurality of power trains each arranged to move one of said members, said yieldable means comprising a yieldable component in each of said power trains.

5. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said levelling means comprises a plurality of agitating members and said yieldable means comprises at least one yieldable component arranged to transmit motion to all of said agitating members.

6. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said yieldable means is directly connected with said agitating member.

7. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said yieldable means comprises at least one spring.

8. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said yieldable means comprises friction coupling means.

9. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said levelling means comprises a plurality of agitating members and said drive means is arranged to move all of said members in the same sense.

'10. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said levelling means comprises a plurality of agitating members and said drive means is arranged to move said agitating members in different directions.

11. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said agitating member is turnable about a predetermined axis and comprises at least one article-engaging vane.

12. A magazine as defined in claim 1, wherein said leveling means comprises a plurality of spaced rod-like agitating members and common carrier means for said agitating members, said drive means being arranged to move said agitating members by way of said carrier means.

13. A magazine as defined in claim 1, further comprising signal generating means atssocialted with said agitating member and arranged to produce signals indicating the extent or frequency of movement of said agitating member.

14. A magazine as defined in claim 1, further comprising signal generating means associated with said drive means and arranged to produce signals indicating the extent or frequency of movement of said agitating member.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,068,762 2/1967 Johnson.

2,111,663 3/1938 Graemiger 222-56 3,379,323 4/1968 Knutsen 222-228 X 2,809,768 10/1957 Pollmann et a1. 221-475 2,924,356 2/ 1960 Pollmann et al 221-175 3,038,643 6/1962 Van 1361- Lely et a1. 222-228 SAMUEL -F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 222-5 6

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3831732 *Nov 16, 1971Aug 27, 1974Maryland Cup CorpApparatus for handling and transporting cylindrical articles and the like
US4646938 *Oct 17, 1984Mar 3, 1987Focke & Co. (Gmbh & Co.)Apparatus for packaging elongate articles, especially cigarettes
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US5259402 *Dec 4, 1991Nov 9, 1993Philip Morris IncorporatedCigarette hopper vane jam prevention device
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US7364052Apr 15, 2002Apr 29, 2008G.D S.P.A.Unit for feeding cigarettes to a packer machine
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EP0443982A1 *Jan 25, 1991Aug 28, 1991Fabriques De Tabac Reunies S.A.Method and device of retention for a delivery hopper, especially for delivery of cigarettes
EP0539324A1 *Oct 6, 1992Apr 28, 1993Fabriques De Tabac Reunies S.A.Alignement method and device for a delivery hopper, especially for delivery of cigarettes
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/175, 222/56
International ClassificationA24C5/32
Cooperative ClassificationA24C5/325
European ClassificationA24C5/32T3